Marquette University takes pride in offering students an opportunity to study abroad and engage in the international community that surrounds us but also works to remain mindful of the environmental impact of traveling. Here we offer some tips to take with you around the world to live a greener life!
Why do we care?
What does "Green Travel" even mean? How do you do it? Do you have to sleep in a tent and cook on a solar-powered camp stove in order to be considered eco-friendly? And how do you recognize it when a company that offers "Green Travel" experiences is, in fact, just greenwashing?
The truth is that sustainable travel (a.k.a. ecotourism) is all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on a given destination. Individually, each one of these choices makes only a small difference in the big picture. But, collectively, becoming more conscious about these little things can have a huge cumulative impact.
- A $10 contribution to a carbon-reducing project with Cool-Effect will off-set the greenhouse gases produced during an average trans-Atlantic study abroad flight. Book a direct flight whenever you can. Take-off and landing use the most fuel. Consider buying a carbon off-set every time you fly.
- According to the NY Times, the US Postal Service delivered more than 77 billion pieces of marketing mail in 2018. While you're studying abroad, have your name removed from catalogs and marketing companies at Catalogchoice.org so you don't receive any unnecessary mail at home.
- When flying, consider doing so with one of the 30+ IATA (International Air Transport Association) member airlines who offer carbon offset programs to neutralize the aircraft's carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects.
- Carry a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Many coffee shops around the world will give you a discount if you bring your own cup!
- Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store or farmer's market.
- Walk, bike or use public transportation whenever it is safe to do so.
- Buy a unique, locally-made souvenir instead of imported products, which have a larger carbon footprint and will look the same as everyone else's souvenir!
- Recycle, compost, and reduce waste as much as you can in your dorm or apartment.
- When you leave the room, always turn off all lights, heat/AC, and television. Closing the curtains and blinds can help keep out the heat of the sun in the summer.
- Take advantage of technology and try to reduce the use of paper as much as you can.
- Immerse yourself in your host culture. Be a participant, not an observer and you'll discover many more ways to live and travel sustainably!